Tuesday 28th April 2015
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Spring 2015
Macmillan has been working to remodel the traditional 'one size fits all' approach to aftercare in Northern Ireland
Working with the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB), the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Northern Ireland Cancer Network (NICaN), this means moving away from routine follow up appointments and providing individually tailored care instead. This is the Macmillan Excellence Award-winning Transforming Cancer Follow Up programme, into which Macmillan has invested more than £1 million.
What the project involves
The project is based around the UK-wide Recovery Package initiative. The aim is that every person should have access to a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) who will discuss all their needs in the form of a written care plan, which they can take away with them.
An additional treatment summary helps both patients and their GPs understand their treatment and the possible longer term consequences and complications which might arise. Finally, people are invited to go along to a health and well-being event, where they hear about all the practical things they can do to keep well. Many people say they like having the opportunity to discuss issues with other people affected by cancer.
Results to date have been encouraging. Transforming Cancer Follow Up has been implemented by Northern Ireland’s five Health and Social Care Trusts as the new model for breast cancer follow up. Progress is being made in remodelling prostate and colorectal cancer aftercare with a view to including other tumour groups.
Around 60% of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients are now taking up self-directed aftercare with the guarantee that, should any problem occur, they will be seen quickly by a specialist. This has resulted in a significant reduction in waiting lists for routine follow-up appointments. Fewer hospital visits for some means more time with clinicians for patients with more complex needs.
The learning from the breast aftercare project has been shared with other regional network site specific groups, namely gynaecology, dermatology, haematology and head and neck cancers. Extensive pathway redesign has taken place in some of these areas to date, with new pathways in the early stages of implementation. Interest in the Transforming Cancer Follow Up approach is also growing among health professionals working in non-cancer areas.
It’s no surprise, then, that the team recently won a Macmillan Team Excellence Award and followed that with a win at the Northern Ireland annual Institute of Healthcare Management Quality and Innovation Awards 2014.
Email Rosy Billingham, Macmillan Campaigns and Communications Manager, Northern Ireland.
Pictured clockwise from left: Jim Wells, Health Minister; Dr Miriam McCarthy, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, PHA; Dean Sullivan, Director of Commissioning, HSCB; Lisa McWilliams, Senior Manager, NICaN; Heather Monteverde, General Manager of Macmillan in Northern Ireland; Mary Jo Thompson, Cancer Nurse Consultant, NICaN; and Liz Henderson, Macmillan Special Advisor